Before she turned 30, Estonian conductor Anu Tali had founded her own orchestra and was quickly becoming a well-known conductor in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Her fame began to spread through Europe, Japan, and the United States in the early years of the twenty-first century. If she is not yet an A-list conductor, she is certainly a marketable one, although her photogenic qualities threaten to divert attention from her serious work in music education and international unity through music.
Her initial training was as a pianist; she graduated from the Talinn Music High School in 1991 and moved on to the Estonian Music Academy, supplementing her studies with master classes at the Sibelius Academy in Finland under conducting professor Jorma Panula. From 1998 to 2001 she also studied with Ilja Mussin and Leonid Kortshmar at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
In 1997 Anu Tali and her twin sister Kadri, who handles administration, founded the Estonian-Finnish (now Nordic) Symphony Orchestra, a 90-member ensemble drawing young musicians not only from those two countries but also Russia, Great Britain, the United States, and other nations. Initially organized for concerts celebrating the 80th anniversary of Finnish independence, the orchestra gives five series of concerts per year, each revolving around a theme, such as "Life and Death."
Tali has also worked regularly with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, specializing in family concerts and choral-related programs. Since 2002 she has further served as conductor of Vanemuine Opera in Tartu, Estonia. She gained significant international attention that year when she and the Nordic Symphony Orchestra recorded music of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis for Warner Classics; while simultaneously advocating Estonian music yet resisting being tagged a Baltic specialist, Tali followed that with a recording of Rachmaninov and Sibelius, as well as more Estonian works.